The Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2012 has been announced by the Keene State Athletic Department. The class introduced has five inductees: Raymond “Lippy” De Rocher ’64, Debbie Higgins ’76, Wilson Perez, Jr. ’03, Michelle Mason ’05, and Meghan McLoughlin ’05.
“All were outstanding athletes, and all were at one point either male or female athlete of the year,” John Ratliff, Keene State Athletic Director said.
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Raymond “Lippy” De Rocher will most likely be remembered as a slugger, someone who could hit the long ball. In fact during his time playing at Keene State College, De Rocher hit two of the longest home runs in Keene State College baseball history. Hitting one ball far enough to land in the Ashuelot River which happened to win a game in the ninth inning against Lyndon State on May 17, 1962.
After his college career at Keene State, De Rocher tried out for two major league teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox, but ultimately decided teaching and coaching was the route he wanted to take. He did however play semi-professionally for the Manchester Red Sox.
Following his decision to coach and teach De Rocher became a teacher and coach at Goffstown High School. He taught there for 18 years and coached for eight years. During his eight years, De Rocher made the playoffs all eight years and won two State Championships.
De Rocher now works in real estate with his wife, where they live in Bedford, N.H.
Debbie Higgins was a 4-year Keene State College women’s basketball player from 1972-1976. She was a five-foot four-inch tall long range shooter who scored 759 career points. Higgins is most known for her KSC record for the highest scoring average in a single season which stands at 20.0 PPG.
Higgins graduated with a degree in education and now runs her own wallpaper and painting business where she has worked for the last 25 years. Wilson Perez, Jr. graduated as an eight-time All American in cross country and track & field.
“Oh, he just had a terrific career,” Peter Thomas said, current head coach of the Keene State cross country and track & field team and Perez Jr.’s former coach.
During his time at KSC, the cross country and track & field team came in second twice at the NCAA Championships, during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.
Although Perez, Jr. quit for about a month his freshman year, Thomas said it was the summer after his freshman year when Perez, Jr. really started to become a great runner. “The summer after his freshman year he worked really hard to become a better runner,” Thomas said, “and his sophomore year it really showed, he became an All-American.”
Thomas said Perez, Jr. was the bedrock of the teams while he was at Keene State College, and said Perez, Jr. had great role models. “He was led by All-Americans when he got here, and then he became an All-American,” Thomas said, “it seemed like a torch was being passed.” Perez, Jr. is now the Colby-Sawyer College cross country and track & field coach.
Michelle Mason was a two sport athlete while at Keene State College, playing soccer and lacrosse, and having a major impact on both teams.
In soccer, Mason holds three Keene State College records. In all-time wins with 66, saves with 437, and shutouts with 43.
However Mason holds a record at lacrosse as well with all-time goals for the women’s lacrosse team with 202 goals. Mason now coaches Division I women’s lacrosse at Iona College.
Meghan McLoughlin has several Keene State College records of her own. While playing softball at KSC, she accumulated the lowest ERA in a single with a 0.21 ERA, the lowest ERA in a career with a 0.38 ERA, and the most strikeouts in a single game with 15.
Ratliff said if McLoughlin had pitched just a few more innings she would have made Division III women’s history. “If I’m not mistaken, Michelle has the best ERA in Division III history, but she only pitched 397 innings, I believe, and you need to have pitched at least 400 in order for a record like that to count,” Ratliff said.
In her sophomore year she was the Little East Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player.
That same year she also named to the NCAA All-Region Team.
McLoughlin is now the first base coach for the Keene State softball team.
With all five athletes having spectacular careers while at Keene State and all five having won either male or female athlete of the year at least once, the college can be proud of its Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
Jacob Plourde can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org